COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia over past 24 hours hinh anh 1Health workers get a swab from a woman in a makeshift centre tent set up in a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on May 23, amid the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo: Reuters)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippines will not allow students to go back to school until a coronavirus vaccine is available, said President Rodrigo Duterte in a speech aired on May 25 evening.

Some 25 million primary and secondary students in the Philippines were due to return to school at the end of August after classes were shut down in March as a preventive measure to contain the spread of the COVID-19.

Duterte said the risk was too great, even if it held students back academically. “For me, vaccine first,” he said, adding that if the vaccine is already there, he will agree to reopen schools.

Though researchers have launched an unprecedented global effort to quickly develop a vaccine, it is not clear when a viable candidate will be proven and distributed on a large scale.

The Philippine Health Ministry reported 13 deaths and 350 new COVID-19 cases on May 26, taking the country’s count to 14,669 confirmed cases and 886 deaths

On May 26, the Thai cabinet approved to extend the state of emergency until the end of June as proposed by the National Security Council (NSC). The country has so far recorded 3,045 coronavirus cases and 57 deaths.

A panel, chaired by National Security Council secretary-general General Somsak Rungsita, is scheduled the next day to discuss the third phase of easing lockdown measures as well as whether the curfew hours should be cut to midnight to 4:00 am. The third phase of easing measures is expected to kick in from June 1.

The same day, Malaysian Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced Malaysia will deport all illegal immigrants tested negative for COVID-19 to their countries of origin.

Ismail Sabri said matters relating to the deportation process will be discussed by the Foreign Ministry and their counterparts and embassies of the countries involved soon.

A total of 227 illegal immigrants detained at three immigration depots in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, have tested positive for the coronavirus. They included 53 Bangladeshi people, 41 Indians and 38 Indonesians.

In Indonesia, 415 people tested positive for the virus on May 26, putting the national tally at 23,165 with 1,418 deaths.

Also on May 26, Singapore announced a new economic stimulus package worth several billion USD, the fourth in the past several months, to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic's impacts on businesses and households in the country.

Singapore counted 383 new cases of COVID-19 on May 26, bringing the total to 32,343. /.